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There’s been a whole lot of talk about trust in government, the lack of it – and what impact it has on social cohesion. Frankly, I find this all a bit overblown, because we are a robust democracy and the ultimate answer rests with us. Don’t trust them? Vote them out.
Across a swathe of issues, Team Ardern has burnt a lot of people’s trust and confidence. I seriously believe the Government’s entire handling of its Three Waters reforms has been dishonest, duplicitous and disreputable. They have not played with a straight bat.
The co-governance agenda anchors this entire asset grab. And how can you trust this Government’s intentions on Three Waters, when their engagement period with councils was a bare-faced sham.
Nanaia Mahuta’s default position was baked in and pre-determined. Four regional entities, come hell or high water. And let’s not forget the shameful betrayal. Nanaia initially reassured councils that opting in to the reform model was voluntary. Come October, it was made mandatory. The steal is on.
Curiously, the enabling legislation to authorise this ram raid on council balance sheets was set to be introduced into Parliament this week. But it's been pulled and parked up until March.
Mahuta would have you believe she wants to give her working group time to fine tune the governance arrangements. But I suspect the Government got spooked. They didn’t want to give Luxon free and easy oxygen. They have finally woken up to the fact that in the eyes of many, this is state-sanctioned theft of council assets. So, kick it into March and reassess the battle plan.
Tomorrow, a major campaign is being launched at Parliament by over twenty councils. They have ponied up and are determined to promote far more viable reform models, than Labour’s four entity monster. Mahuta would have you believe over thirty models were looked at. But only one, the four eyed monster, has ever seen the light of day. It was pre-determined.
The fact they’ve now parked up their legislation suggests to me the penny’s dropped – and they are running scared.